Monday, November 18, 2002
An Honest Man
For an example of an honorable response to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" hooey, see quoted e-mail from a former USN officer at Andrew Sullivan's blog. You'll need to scroll down to the heading "Another Victory for Prejudice".
Not only is the individual's response honorable, his comments also point out that the problem with people who aren't straight in the military lies as much or more with a cadre of officers and Pentagon civilians, not with the broader ranks of military personnel. I think that's parallel to the case in many institutions and in US culture as a whole: a small group of (sometimes self-appointed, sometimes legitimately determined) leaders thinks that the larger population can't deal with homos. They think it would be wrong to change the institutionalization of "homophobia" (e.g., inability to get married legally, lack of equal protection in housing and employment, inability to adopt legally, etc.) to the institutionalization of equal rights for all, regardless of just about any attribute excepting being a convicted felon, and their argument is frequently that folks just aren't ready for that. (As well as the pathetic, "What about the children?").
My reality is that by and large the people I work with on a day-to-day basis don't give a shit that I'm gay, and they largely think that everyone who hasn't done something heinous to preclude having them deserves the same rights as everyone else. My gut feeling based on some personal knowledge is that that extends to the military, too.
My other gut feeling is that this situation would tend even further towards equal rights for all in most all matters if certain politicos -- some Democrats and an even larger fraction of Republicans -- would quit using scarey homosexuals to keep their voting blocs together. It would help, of course, if people interested in gay rights would reduce their involvement in the interest group game as the means of arriving to the status of equal rights and, instead, and hold politicians accountable by working hard to turn out the rascals for not getting done what needs to get done instead of sending a hundred bucks to the HRC or NLGTF or Log Cabin Republicans.